Mandolin chicken dish
Photos courtesy of Mandolin Agean Bistro

The One Who Keeps the BookMiami

How to Snag a Table at Mandolin Aegean Bistro, and What to Order

By

For more than a decade, Mandolin Aegean Bistro has been a whimsical beacon of fresh, housemade fare and warm hospitality. Stepping through its baby-blue gate and into the lush courtyard, you’re instantly transported from Miami’s bustling streets to the serene Greek islands or coastal Turkish towns.

It’s the spot for executive working lunches, influencer happy hours, and plenty of celebrations. Regardless of why you’re at Mandolin, everyone feels that welcoming vibe and craves the bountiful meze dishes that husband-and-wife duo Ahmet Erkaya and Anastaia Koutsioukis have curated for their guests. So how do you score a table here?

Luckily, you’re reading The One Who Keeps the Book, our series that aims to answer your most essential question: How do I get in? Resy, of course, but every restaurant is different and there are always tips, tricks, and shortcuts to be discovered, so we’re going straight to the source. We sat down with Margot Eisbart, Mandolin’s brand and operations manager, who gave us her insider tips on how to snag a table at this beloved restaurant.

RESY: When do reservations drop on Resy?
Eisbart: We take reservations up to three months in advance. There isn’t really a high or low season; we don’t really see a slow time anymore. Right now, we’re booking about a month out for a 7 p.m. reservation for four people.

How many seats does Mandolin have?
We opened with two to three tables 12 years ago and now we’re over 200 seats.

What is your prime time? Are there certain days where there’s a better chance to get a prime-time reservation?
Mandolin is a first and last stop for the airport. People don’t even go to their hotels or Airbnbs first. They come to Mandolin with all their luggage to eat lunch as soon as they land. And we’re the last stop before going back to the airport. On Sunday people are going back home and on Thursday people are coming into town, so Monday through Wednesday are the best days. Prime time for lunch is 1-1:30 p.m. and for dinner it’s 7:30-8:30 p.m. 

Are any seats held for walk-ins?
No, but we do have an indoor seating area that we don’t save for reservations, so that’s useful for walk-ins. The walk-in wait can range from 15 minutes to two hours. It’s very hard to tell when that’s going to happen. But I do suggest that people come right when we open at 12 noon, they’re more likely to get a seat and not have a lot of waiting time. We don’t close between lunch and dinner, so between 4-5 p.m. it slows down pretty rapidly and you won’t wait too long to sit.

Can guests have a cocktail while they wait for their table?
Yes, we have an outdoor waiting area. We’re also about to open Next Door in the next few weeks. As an expansion of Mandolin, it will be a Greek wine and meze bar. You will be able to wait there for your table or just dine there. 

How long is your Notify list?
We have up to 1,500 people on the weekends on the list. I’ve never seen that before. It ranges from 300 to 1,000 regularly, especially on the weekends. 

Are there any other tricks to getting seated?
Kindness goes a really long way at the door. It helps to start a conversation with whoever is at the door, and be patient. 

What’s the best seat in the house?
We have a huge tree; a lot of people like to sit under it. There’s also a tiny table — Table 70 — a two-top before you walk into the back house. It’s up a couple of steps, so when you sit there you can see the entire restaurant and everything that’s going on.

What’s the Secret Garden?
It’s where we can host our larger groups in a private setting that’s still outdoors, so it has the same vibe as the restaurant.

What are a few dishes someone should definitely not miss?
Everything is homemade every day. It’s simple, consistent, and fresh. You can really taste the spices and flavor profiles of Greece and Turkey. There is a staff favorite called Ali Nazik that’s ground lamb served over yogurt. It’s absolutely delicious and good for dipping. The seafood is caught every morning, so I’d say the catch of the day. We have a different fish dish each day. And I would also say the octopus and prawns.

What does the future hold for Mandolin?
We’re taking Mandolin on the road, so more Mandolin locations with a similar vibe and menu will be opening soon, and not necessarily in Miami. Mr. Mandolin, our casual Greek and Turkish street food restaurant at the Vagabond hotel and Oasis Wynwood, and Mrs. Mandolin are all under the same umbrella, so we’re looking to expand all of those outlets. It’s happening at a very rapid pace. We’re trying to get Mandolin around the world.

Is there anything else you want to share?
It’s always really great to hear our guests’ stories about why they’re coming back to Mandolin time and time again. It means a lot to us, just as much as it does to the guests.  

Mandolin is open Monday-Sunday from 12 noon to 11 p.m.

Christie Galeano-DeMott is a Miami-based lifestyle journalist. Follow her on Instagram. Follow Resy, too.